I don’t have to be outside of New York to travel – I can just open the complex stack of worn, beloved Smythson blue and Hermes orange boxes that serve as my jewelry boxes. Inside is a bevy of beautiful things – costume jewelry from Elizabeth Cole and Lizzie Fortunato, lengths of chain salvaged from broken necklaces, fine jewelry from my great aunts, and vintage hat pins and pendants.  One of my favorite places to seek out on travels is a flea market for sparkly souvenirs. Whether it be in the Marche Aux Puces in Paris, Portobello Road in London, the Scott Antiques Market in my hometown of Atlanta, or even the Brooklyn Flea right here in New York, I can transport myself quickly through objects.
What is it about flea market finds that one loves so much? The thrill, of course, of the hunt, as well as the knowledge that the item is yours – all yours- with a history to tell. You can pick up a cameo ring, matches from steakhouses in the 1930’s, or African art and be transported to another time and place. My favorite flea market in New York is The Garage on 25th street in Chelsea, where you can go to discover the history of all sorts of items year round. I’ve gotten a darling white cropped jacket, deco hinged bracelets, a 50’s Pierre Balmain scarf, rejected fashion sketches, and enough baubles, brooches, and beads to last a lifetime.
My prized fashion flea market find is my Chanel black 2.55. So utterly classic and elegant, she was instantly cherished. I found her through a vintage flea market store/space hybrid in Athens, Georgia called Agora. In perfect condition, I knew I had scored the ultimate prize, and the discounted price for second hand was an afterthought and secondary triumph. I love to think about where she’s been – with me, to concerts in Austin, Texas, galas in London, and brunches in New York – and with others, perhaps to weddings in Charleston or business meetings in Hong Kong. The best part is that I’ll never know, and she can have her history rewritten over and over again in my mind.
These windows into past people and lives work perfectly with my newly acquired pieces -printed pantsimage-6240078-10451141crisp white blousesimage-6240078-10451141leather totesimage-6240078-10451141 – and share shelf space with my other unique accessories from Lele Sadoughi,  iiiBeCa by Joy Gryson, and Kate Design. I look at all these lovely pieces I now own and am grateful to give them all new chapter in their history.
-Lauren Finney